V Kumar has been writing on Bollywood movies and music for several years, highlighting perspectives that are often missed out or ignored.
Sensuous Love Songs in Bollywood: Changing Trends over the Last Century
Indian society evolved around the strength of the family and the life long bond of marriage. Under Indian laws, marriage is still considered a sacrament and not a contract. As a result, divorce used to be a rare phenomena in traditional middle class Indian families, till the seventies. It also meant that in Indian society, a man or a woman was supposed to have only one partner in life, and that too within the sacrosanct relationship of marriage. This extreme emphasis on marriage required a lot of self restrain, and also led to restrictions on how physical intimacy in relationships could be depicted in literature and performing arts. In movies too, love making was supposed to be depicted creatively without exposure of body or intimate physical contact on screen. Even kissing was extremely rare in Bollywood till a few decades back.
During the last hundred years of movie making in India, open expression of love making on screen was not generally welcomed, but the chains of conservatism were constantly becoming weaker. After a few kissing scenes in movies made in the late 1920s for foreign audiences, intimate scenes returned to Bollywood only during the seventies and eighties, which was also a period of great experimentation. It saw movies like MERA NAAM JOKER (1970), BOBBY (1973) and JULIE (1975) defying the conservative traditions with bold scenes. Yet it took another two decades before Bollywood could become comfortable with love making on screen, and it was only in the twenty first century that such scenes and songs became common in Bollywood movies.These changes have been resisted and even today, there are people who frown on them, but their proportion is dwindling fast.
Sensuous love making songs have played a very significant role in this liberation of Bollywood. The popularity of these songs usually precedes the release of the movie, and those who love them are generally not deterred by the visuals. On the contrary, these songs can garner significant interest and attention and allow the film maker an additional avenue of attracting audiences.
The success and popularity of these sensuous songs is largely due to the combination of melody and passion that creates a unique experience for the senses. Lust can be ugly, but when combined with love, music and the creative art of cinematography, it attains an artistic sensuousness without losing its instinctive appeal. The best love making songs not only achieved this distinction, but also became milestones in the liberation of Indian movies from the traditional conservative restrictions.
Here is an introduction to the ten best love making songs of Bollywood.
Song # 1
"Jane jana..o.. jane jana.."
When this movie was released in 1986, the sensuous love scenes in this song were considered extremely bold by the standards of that time. However, whatever negative reactions they may have generated got completely buried under the phenomenal popularity of this song. The great acting skills and effective on screen chemistry of the actors, Dimple Kapadia and Anil Kapoor, were also instrumental in sustaining its visual appeal, and contributed in no less measure to its success. This melodious number was sung by Sapna Mukherjee and Mahesh Gadhvi, its music was composed by Kalyanji Anandji, and its lyrics were written by Indeevar.
Interestingly, this seemingly Westernized song is actually based on Raag Charukesi in Kaherva Taal of Hindustani classical music.
Song # 2
Bhool gaya sab kuchh...yaad nahi ab kuchh.."
JULIE (1975) was a relatively simple movie of the seventies based on premarital affair of young teenagers and its social repercussions in the conservative Indian society. Yet, it can be considered a cinematographic milestone in terms of its bold and sensuous depiction of love,melodious music and consequent popularity. The credit for this goes to the strong acting performance of two relatively unknown actors of Bollywood, Lakshmi and Vikram, as well as to the great music composed by Rajesh Roshan and excellent lyrics written by Anand Bakhshi, which together created a number that is bold, beautiful and at least a couple of decades ahead of its time. However, the only thing that most listeners remember about this song are the golden voices of Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar that made it an eternal classic, completely overshadowing the bold visuals and their instinctive appeal.
Song # 3
"Aashiq banaya.. aapne.."
Till the last decade, this number would have been one of the strongest contenders for being the boldest love making song of Bollywood. It came at a time when social conservatism resisting bold love making scenes had still not disappeared. The back of topless Tanushree Dutta on the big screen took Bollywood to a level that was unexplored till then, in spite of all the advances that it had witnessed during the preceding decades. Emraan Hashmi was the male lead in a role that became his hallmark. The music of this popular number was composed by Himesh Reshammiya who was also the singer, while the lyrics were written by Sameer. The music is great, but the song is still remembered mainly for its visuals.
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Song # 4
"Aaj phir tum pe pyar aaya hai.."
This number has everything that a great love making song needs, but it is the sensuous kissing scene, which cemented its place in the history of Bollywood adventures. It was also a number far ahead of its time, and its success was largely due to the great screen presence of the two actors, Madhuri Dixit, who had just arrived and was yet to become the great phenomenon that she did in the next few years, and Vinod Khanna, who was one of the biggest Bollywood stars of the seventies, before his self-exile and was making a return to Bollywood. This musical number was sung by Pankaj Udhas and Anuradha Paudwal, its music was composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and its lyrics were written by Azeez Qaisi. While the music is also excellent, it is the screen visuals that clearly dominate the musical notes in this number.
Song # 5
"Roop tera mastana pyar mera deewana.."
This song is a Bollywood milestone for several reasons, and can be credited as being the first great sensuous love song of Bollywood. In fact, it can also be considered the greatest for being able to depict the passion of love without any explicit scenes. It was probably the only way a love making song could be shown in the conservative India of sixties. The credit for its appealing visuals must be given to the two extremely good looking stars of Bollywood, Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore, their great on screen presence and near perfect acting. However, the enormous popularity of this song was primarily due to its music, composed by S D Burman. The lyrics of the song were written by Anand Bakhshi and its was sung by Kishore Kumar, whose fate as a singer changed with this movie, and who in turn changed the musical canvass of Bollywood in the coming decade!
This song is a musical gem whose popularity is going to last forever, and so strong is its ability to mesmerize the listeners that even the most conservative soul could not think of complaining against what was being depicted on screen.
Song # 6
"Jaadu hai nasha hai.. "
If there is one single song that marks the liberation of Bollywood from the tentacles of age old traditional conservatism of Indian society, and signals its liberation in accordance with the global norms of 21st century, it is this song. The same can also be said about the movie, and the full credit goes to one of the most glamorous pairs of Bollywood in recent times, Bipasha Basu and John Abraham, who are known as much for their good looks as for their skillful enactment of such roles. This melodious number was sung by Shreya Ghoshal, its music composed by M M Kreem and its lyrics were written by Sayeed Quadri & Nilesh Mishra.
It is a song that marks the big divide between the conservative Bollywood of the twentieth century, which was dictated by the traditional Indian values and the new Bollywood of the twenty first century that broke all those shackles in its quest for freedom, but in the process, also went berserk at times!
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Song # 7
" Bheege honth tere, pyaasa dil mera.. "
This movie will always be remembered for taking physical intimacy on screen to a new level in mainstream Bollywood. Its theme of extra-marital relationships actually worked in its favor, perhaps the first movie to attain such a feet in Bollywood, which was still extremely conservative in this regard. All credit for its success goes to the two actors on screen, Mallika Sherawat and Emraan Hashmi, hardly known till then, who put the screen virtually on fire with their performance. The musical gem is also considered one of the most melodious Bollywood song of this century and was sung by Kunal Ganjawala, its music was composed by Anu Malik and its lyrics were written by Sayeed Qadri.
The success of this song as well as this movie lies in a tight rope walk where the story upholds the Indian value of keeping physical relationships within the boundaries of marriage and still manages to depict the extramarital adventures. To a large extent, it was its great music that did the trick!
Song # 8
"Kate nahin kat te ye din ye raat.."
If this is a man's world, then a lady that can cast a spell on the menfolk has the potential to rule it! That is exactly what some of them did, with their electrifying presence on screen that could charm and hypnotize a million hearts.
This number belongs to Sridevi, the leading female star of Bollywood in the eighties, with an almost invisible Anil Kapoor in company. This scintillating number was sung by Kishore Kumar and Alisha Chinai, its music was composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and lyrics were written by Javed Akhtar. The number is sensuous, bold and adventurous by the standards that prevailed when it was created, and its success owes as much to the melodious music as to the beautiful and elegant depiction of sensual passion by Sridevi.
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Song # 9
"Dhak dhak karne laga.. "
Till the eighties, the most sensuous songs of Bollywood were generally those that belonged to the most charming ladies and their sensuality. Few could match Madhuri Dixit in this respect. This number, aided by great music composed by Anand Milind, is an example of how she could put the screen on fire with her presence in those conservative days of a bygone era. Anil Kapoor complements her presence on screen. This number was sung by Anuradha Paudwal and Udit Narayan and its lyrics were written by Sameer.
This number belongs to a period where Bollywood was beginning to enter into such adventures, and thus marks one of the earliest great numbers in its journey towards liberation. Its popularity also led to Madhuri being labeled as the "dhak dhak girl".
Song # 10
"Hai Rama ye kya hua.. "
There are few greater enigmas in Bollywood than Ram Gopal Verma as Director. He can be a genius on his day and incomprehensible on another occasion. In RANGEELA (1995), he was at his best, and this song is a product of his great creativity, depicting the nature of forces that bind a man and woman, in one of the best musical theatrics ever witnessed in Bollywood. It depicts the attraction, the restlessness and the bonding that is inherent in the sensuous attraction between a young man and woman. This number was sung by Hariharan and Swarnlata, its great music was composed by A R Rahman and its lyrics written by Mehboob. Urmila Matondkar and Jackie Shroff are the two actors who made Verma's conceptualization a reality by their performance.
this song shows the shooting of a movie within the movie, thereby allowing greater freedom for the theatrics. It has Ram Gopal Verma's genius written all over it.
Best Sensuous Song of Bollywood ?
© 2013 V Kumar
V Kumar (author) on April 06, 2013:
I fully agree with you. True Love has nothing to do with age. It is the bonds and the feelings that matter .... Thanks so much for your encouraging words.
teamrn from Chicago on April 06, 2013:
VKumar, The true love harmony isn't limited to the young; older people enjoy more mature love and exciting relationships; though not to the same end, The love between a man and a woman is exciting at any age; it just manifests itself differently.
I'd still give it mega thumbs up for originality, writing and introducing many to the beauty of romance in other cultures.